12 February 2021

My Year Abroad: James Cashmore

James Cashmore (BA German, Russian, Dutch) reports from Austria: "Even with Coronavirus my time here has been nothing short of incredible."

Student on this Year Abroad against alpine background

"The opportunity to live abroad and improve my languages in a practical way, has always been a major part of why I chose this course. Having lived here in Austria for almost 5 months now, I can safely say that even with Coronavirus my time here has been nothing short of incredible."

Report by James Cashmore  (BA German, Russian, Dutch)

"I think I’ve been very lucky to have met the people I’ve met here; without them I don’t think my experience would have been nearly as good. From the cleaner in the Lehrlingsheim, which was home for the first two months, to the other assistants here in Carinthia and everyone in between, I feel as though I have made friends and connections that I can reach out to in the years to come.

Despite the lockdowns, the travel restrictions, and all of the frustrations that accompany all of that, I’ve still managed to visit Munich, Vienna and countless mountain-top castles. As the lockdown eases, my friends and I are hoping to visit Venice in March. Austria is a beautiful country, sometimes I don’t think the Austrians know how lucky they are! The location of the country is perfect to go and visit other places around Europe, but there’re so many hidden gems within Austria itself that you can easily spend your days trekking through the alpine forests or exploring nearby cities. 

Group of students in a cornfield in Austria. A hill in the background

I’ve never been a particularly shy person, but I wouldn’t describe myself as a confident person either. One of the things that I wanted to take back from my year abroad was a sense of genuine confidence. With this in mind, I always try to do the 'hard' thing and not fall back on what’s easy or what I’m used to. Doing most things in a language that isn’t your mother tongue makes life a bit more of a challenge. For a 20-year old living abroad for the first time without a full grasp of the language, I definitely ventured out of my comfort zone. I feel as though I have learned a lot from my time here. I feel much more confident speaking German, even if I do sound weird and my listening skills have improved tenfold thanks to the delightful Carinthian dialects. Most importantly perhaps, I feel a lot more confident in myself. 

When I look back to when I got here, getting off the train in a tiny little town nestled in the Austrian alps, to where I am now I feel a sense of achievement.

James Cashmore

Reporting on his Third Year Abroad in Klagenfurt, Austria

Working as a language assistant in Austria has been a real joy. My teachers are all really nice and supportive and we have developed good working relationships even though most of the work we have done together has been online! The role has required me to act as a bit of a middle man between the students and the teachers, something which I found fairly easy to slip into. In all honesty though, experiences fluctuate from teacher to teacher. On some occasions I have quite simply been a dictionary, on other occasions teachers have paraded me around the school - which can be fairly awkward. As I’ve gotten to know the teachers a bit more, they’ve given me more responsibilities and other types of work such as proofreading and translating the school brochure and also more mundane stuff like giving feedback on the students’ work. I would genuinely recommend working as a language assistant, it has allowed me to live a very comfortable life here in terms of how much time I have off, how much I get paid for what I do, and also the friends that I have made because of the job.

view over snow capped village in Austria

When I look back to when I got here, getting off the train in a tiny little town nestled in the Austrian alps, to where I am now I feel a sense of achievement. By no means do I feel like an Austrian, but I do feel as though I have built some sort of a life for myself here over the last five months. Now as I am nearing the end of my time here in Austria, I can’t help but feel a bit sad and nostalgic that it’s all flown by so quickly. For that I can be grateful, because that’s the only evidence I need to tell me what a great experience I’ve had here."

A world top-100 university

We're a world top-100 university renowned for the excellence, impact and distinctiveness of our research-led learning and teaching.